It's a completely different machine now from the one I first bought. It feels 150 pounds lighter, it turns in beautifully and holds a line incredibly well, sticks like glue, powers out of corners with an amazing aural combination of grunt and snarl, and generally plasters a wide smile on my face any time I get to have fun on it. It's very comfortable, gets great gas mileage (48 MPG), has excellent wind protection, is completely reliable, and does everything I ask of it. I've gone on a couple of long day trips out west and had a blast riding the bona fide twisties. I love this bike. I cherish it like no other material possession I've ever had, including my beloved old RX-7. It went from being a slightly disappointing representation of a modern 600cc bike to surpassing my highest expectations with just some engine, suspension, tire, ergonomic, comfort and appearance mods. And there's more to come. I haven't even changed the rear sprocket yet.
I probably won't do any track days until next year. Oh, and I'm buying ANOTHER bike next year. A larger engine with more upright ergos. Speed Triple, new FZ1, 919 replacement, maybe the Z750S or the ER-6n if they bring it to the US. The ZZR will do mostly track duty next year, and I plan to do a lot of it.
I've also collected a good amount of gear for all riding conditions and styles. I think I'm set for almost everything now.
What else? I finally have internet access in my home again, and it's quite speedy, clocking in at 5000+ kbits/second on various speed tests with a decent latency and faster upload speeds than my first DSL had download speed. I also have expanded cable, including my favorite channels: Spike, Cartoon, Sci-Fi, Speed, G4Tech, and my new interest, IFC (Independent Film Channel). The big TV is in the living room area, connected to the audio system. I have my LCD TV hooked to the cable also and it can accompany me to my computer desk (the big corner model again), the bedroom, or even the toilet seat so I can watch while soaking in the bathtub. I don't really watch that much though. It's nice to wake up in the morning (10ish) and catch an episode of Deep Space Nine, and I'm enjoying Battlestar Galactica, Paranoia Agent, Attack of the Show, the races on Speed, and Futurama, as well as some great little movies on IFC.
I got a couch. It has two recliners built in, the arms are very soft like pillows for napping, and the middle can fold down to hold your drinks and for you to operate the vibrating massager. Ha!
I'm hoping to pay my brother Kody to go shoot a deer so I can have another year of deer (venison) burgers. Actually I'm paying for the processing, he's hunting for free. I love ground deer cooked as a burger on the Foreman with a dab of mustard and a bit of Carb Options ketchup, plus Postassium No-Salt and pepper, on a toasted whole wheat sugarfree bun. For breakfast.
I've delved into some new music -- Spoon, Interpol, Doves, the new Mercury Rev, the new Posies (yes!), the new Eels, Mojave 3, Further Seems Forever, Failure, Elbow, the new Bettie Serveert, Isidore, Spartan Fidelity, Elf Power, Quasi, and Turin Brakes, among others. I also completed my list of the top 30 modernish albums. See below.
I'm active with Netflix, although I'm on the cheap "one movie at a time" schedule, which I actually prefer. Donnie Darko is a recent movie that impressed me, might order that for purchase. Primer was also fun. Garden State was sweet. I'm not ashamed to say I loved Lost in Translation.
I'm looking forward to buying the Xbox 360 when it hits in a few months. I split my playing time between UT2K3 and UT2K4, Crimsonland, Tetris Attack, Alpha Centauri, Psychonauts (Xbox), Beyond Good and Evil, MotoGP 2 (Xbox, waiting for part 3), Ratchet 3, and a couple other oldies. Ordering Katamari Damacy. I'm thinking of getting a new TV, a widescreen LCD in the mid 30 inch range.
Books I've finished in the last couple of months include Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom, Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Parks' Total Control (sport riding). I'm waiting for a book called Satisfaction to come out.
I've stopped paying a huge amount of attention to both politics and economics. I'm happier that way. I get enough financial and economic news through my job at Fidelity. Said job is going along steadily. I trade mutual funds, equities, single-leg options, primary issue CDs, and IPOs. I also do an expanded service function which includes a lot of things related to trading (such as handling tender offers) and investments (I'm not an investment advisor rep but I sure do answer a lot of detailed and involved objective questions on mutual funds and stocks). I'm also a level 2 tax gate representative. In September, I'll be pipelining for ECS -- Electronic Channel Support, which means I'll be doing web and automated phone system tech support. Pipelining means I'm not a specialist, I don't have full training, responsibility, or authority and I'm not full time, but I'll be helping out the ECS folks from time to time, and the knowledge gained can only help my regular line of work. I plan to make a career move within the company sometime by the end of 2006.
I made some good money on TIE -- Titanium. I rode it to a $1000 profit in my Roth. I'm also in or have been in DOM, EWY, TRF, and one or two others. In my 401K I'm in four Fidelity Select funds: energy, energy services, natural resources, and natural gas. They've been climbing high, up like 50% for the year to date. Including profit sharing, 401K match, my 401K contribution, and my Roth contribution, I'm set to contribute over $12,000/year to my retirement.
My brother bought an '05 CBR600RR. Dad bought an '04 ZRX1200R. Mom bought an '05 Ford Focus which has a six-CD changer WITH MP3 playback on all discs. When I was shopping for cars, they all seemed to have either a changer OR MP3 capability.
I recently visited my new niece in Atlanta, GA. We drove. Well, mostly I drove. When we hit the road going there I had already been awake for nineteen hours and I drove for over eight more hours.
I go swimming a few times a week at my mom's house (while she's at work). I thoroughly enjoy my low-key days off. Well, sometimes they're not so low-key. Sometimes they're laced with lots of adrenaline. Vroom vroom. I've owned my car for almost exactly one year and I'm at 5990 miles since I bought it. At this rate I'll pass 100,000 miles sometime in 2016. I still eat rather healthily, at least some of the time. I try to get a high protein to fat and protein to carbs ratio, avoid sugar, and make sure my lunches are very healthy.
Anyway, that is the last couple of months in a nutshell. I recently concocted a list of my top 30 albums, in no particular order... these are mostly things I've owned for at least a while, so Spoon's excellent "Girls Can Tell" isn't included, for instance. And it still pains me to leave a lot of precious older recordings off the list. Read on.
The Flaming Lips -- Soft Bulletin
Built to Spill -- Perfect From Now On
REM -- Automatic For the People
Turin Brakes -- Ether Song
Shudder to Think -- Pony Express Record
The Posies -- Amazing Disgrace